July 29, 2008 08:38:17am
SHAKEDOWN STREET -- when it crackled like a thunder cloud...
played 163 times. debuted, 8/31/78 Red Rocks
-- just a quick run-through it was, an album quality version. the tempo was faster than it would ultimately settle into. JERRY was such a master of the tempo -- at times it seems he err's on the side of being TOO SLOW -- but that is how he put so much depth in each song. pick it up in Egypt September 16, 1978,
and the tempo is cut way down -- much slower, and this version would stretch right out to it's near maximum length (15 minutes or so) on the second performance: still, it is only the second version, and as often seems the problem to me, the song PLODS a bit, and jerry starts to noodle, not playing with a clear intention. at about 9 minutes, jerry seems to give up on the tune, and goes into...... well i am going to read EGYPT into it -- a bit of a NUBIAN mode is employed at about 10:06 and he plays along in pleasingly delicate fashion, carefully..... and off topic -- he really plays some great stuff in the last 5 minutes, and the rest of the band pounds on in shakedown mode, but jer is off, lost in a revery of sand dunes and pyramids.......
THROUGHOUT 1978, Shakedown would be subservient to the calling of Egypt, as the tune would often appear around Drums, and with Ollin Arageed -- check out the splendid jam out of Ollin into shakedown on 11/23/78, Capital Centre, Landover MD:
Jerry plucks along in a wild mix of the Nubian Mode and his Shakey intentions -- this leads into a driving Uptempo version -- Jerry shows some flashes of brilliance on the solo between the verses, but there is no vocal jam at the end, they close it down and change modes and moods abruptly at 6:40.... again on 12/13 at the Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa, we get some nice Tar from MIckey coming out of drums and Jer comes out to jam -- he plays in his Super Fast strumming style here, running all over the fretboard, playing Extremely Fast! Ready to Go! Jer leads the band confidently into Shakedown
-- again the Tempo is More Up than would be typical.... verses despensed with, jer plays more on the shake theme than he has been up to this point, and for the first time, after a long ending jam, they sound poised to come back for a chorus.... but they don't.... on December 17 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta,
they start to take out the VOCAL JAM on the last chorus and this leads into a TRUE SHAKEDOWN JAM... Listen closely at the crucial 6 MINUTE MARK as they enter the finale. everyone is very copasetic and willing to follow the HAIRY ONE....Jerry rides out the final jam in Real Shake Mode -- a turn away from the Egypt sound now.... he is carving the space for this song that would provide the foundation for the next 15 years......
pick it up at the Golden Hall in San Diego, 12/28/78.
it appears as a Set Opener for the first time.... i dig the banter as they count it off, you can't tell what they are saying, but it sounds like Jerry and the drummers wisecracking a bit -- just some dudes at work egging each other on.... this is a real winner....ONE OF THE BEST KEITH VERSIONS!!! HE JAMS! -- and sounds just FAB on this recording! JERRY is now firmly in command of the song and can sustain the Shakedown theme through a long ending jam..... two nights later at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA
for the "new year's warm up gig" the Shakedown comes out of Playin.... no big jam tonight, but they stretch out the last chorus, a la Dancin and He's Gone.... they descend quickly into drums and come out on the other side with Ollin Arageed... unable to shake the tie to Egypt. (stick it out, the Treat this night would be the brief return of SAINT STEPHEN....of course, this would be blown away by the historic show played the next night.....)
IN 1979, Shakedown was played A LOT, the most of any year -- 25 times out of 76 shows just a decimal place less than every 3 nights!.... it appeared for the Dead's first ever Madison Square Garden appearance on 1/7, but being an islander, i am partial to the version played at Nassau, a couple nights later January 10, 1979.
(of course this set also contains Keith's last Dark Star.) the vocal jam at the end continued to take shape, stretching out a bit more here, Jerry is in good voice, and the rhythm section is ABSOLUTELY BOUNCING!
On January 17 in Hartford CT, BOBBY asks the crowd to "welcome Jerry Garcia back from the jaws of death" (apparently referring to some cancelled shows, from 78?, that this was a make-up date for). JERRY responds in kind, and gives us the FIRST SHAKEDOWN OPENER
. "......Tell me this town aint got no heart..." AND BOY! he sounds like he wants to RIP and just SMOKES the interverse solo..... Keith is high in the mix and sounds great! the show in Kansas City on February 9,
is notable for three reasons: 1) 2nd set opens with NFA, 2) "comes a time" was played 3) the FIRST SHAKEDOWN ENCORE!...... not a crazy raging version, but i love how they DO IT SO FINE! (a fun, sleeper show if ever!)
the version from Oakland on February 17 is unique in that it is the LAST VERSION of the "Godchaux Era." it is not especially good, they start off too slow, and up the tempo during the intro and after the last chorus they quickly abandon any light, bubbly vibes they had going and head straight for noodle space.... BUT STILL, it does mark the end of an era. especially for shakedown -- BRENT MYDLAND would bring a new sound and vibe....
AND SO, they ushered in the Brent Mydland era on April 22, 1979....Spartan Stadium, San Jose State,
and closed the show with the second ever SHAKEDOWN ENCORE, a spot it would hold frequently in the coming year. Brent filled two roles, keyboard chair and back up vocalist -- shakedown benefitted from both. this UNIQUE AUDIENCE recording captures an Overwhelming amount of Mr.s Lesh and Mydland -- which for shakedown, is not a bad thing. REALLY! this is a wild recording, and sounds better than a good many SBDs. and man, Brent's harmonies are RIGHT ON POINT! the structure of the tune didn't change so much with brent in the band -- overtime however, his vocal contribution would be greater and greater.... for better or worse, the tune seemed to fit him, and this incarnation of The Grateful Dead, better than it did Keith. while Keith could play, in my opinion, a MEAN ELECTRIC keyboard, funky and jazzy as hell, there was something about brent -- like he was a character in this song.... IT fit him like a glove.
"You think you've seen this town clear through
Well, well, well, you can never tell
Nothin' here that could interest you
Well, well, well, you can never tell
It's not because you missed out
On the thing that we had, to start"
on the one hand it might seem that jerry is sort of singing the song to himself. i mean, who is the "you" right? well, the "you" could be anyone i suppose that wants to put themselves into the song -- but it seems as though the song addresses a Before & After scenario -- whoever the You IS they have undergone a transformation, and are now in the grip of the darkness, without the benefit of the light. this character is.... out of balance, out of place and searching -- only the omniscient narrator remembers ".... your darkness, when it crackled like a thundercloud...." it is open to interpretation in a myriad of ways to be certain. but those lines, "maybe you had too much too fast.....it's not because you missed out, on the thing that we had to start...." always struck me as directed at the keyboard player..... whoever he might be....
if anything, the vocal jam really started to develop with brent on board, starting to grow wings as soon as the show at Glenns Falls on August 31, 1979.
the tune, full of jamming possibilities was relegated mostly to opening slots however, and served as a fine encore more than a few times, as stated. and really, it was A GREAT SECOND SET OPENER -- what better way to announce, now we're gonna have some fun.... how bout a trip back to the Pauley Pavilion, November 25, '79 in sunny southern california for this raging version.......? no vocal jam this night, jerry just wanted to rip, oh wait, so did brent, phil and bobby! HOT STUFF! brent especially, helps drive this jam along splenidly!
on december 26, 1979 in the run up to new year's they played a STERLING rendition for an encore (along with an Uncle John's reprise book-ended from earlier in the set). they start to seriously explore the last chorus here too, jerry instigating, not playing guitar at all, just riffing the final chorus in a hush -- brent, slowly growing in confidence adds to the mix.... it is REALLY GREAT! the band drops down to nothing at 9:00, just the crowd clapping along and then Brent coming in on squishy keys -- a A VERY FINE ORGANIC VERSION,
my first favorite of the BRENT ERA.....
IN 1980, the tune fell ever so slightly out of favor, appearing only twice in the spring. for the first time in awhile it appeared "within" a set, as the penultimate number in the first set on August 21, 1980.
AND as far as i can tell, this is the first night they came back for a chorus after the last solo.... a development in the structure of the song that cannot lift this lackluster version, but one which WOULD bear fruit. a more uptempo, dance friendly version is offered a few days later, Sep. 6, 1980, Lewiston Maine
. but here we find Jer pushing the tempo in the other direction -- UP, UP, UP -- a development unique to 1980, as the song would occasionally be taken at a relatively break neck tempo -- not something that benefitted the song much, but not a BUZZKILL either. contrast that version with this one
from october 7! (BTW, another nice vocal jam, this night at the Warfield.)
SHAKEDOWN would come back some in 1981, but never be played as much as in '79 again. a rare midsetter was performed March 28, 1981.... on May 12, back in New Haven CT,
they let rip a nice vocal jam on the last chorus.... very sweet! and they keep the streak alive with the next performance....
....back at Cornell University, on May 16, 1981. a nice vocal jam, and a smoldering solo from Garcia that hits some very CLEVER TERRITORY at 11:45, i love the little Hiccup Riff jerry hits there.... Bobby finally finds a counter at 12:20 and sends the jam into a spin.... they flash and fade, almost fall into Stranger, and then the beautiful bow on the perfectly stretched out versions like this, after Jer manages a nice peak at 14:50, he starts the chorus up again! i just love it!!! it is like, after 3 and half years they finally just PLAYED IT ABSOLUTELY PERFECT from beginning right through to the very satisfying conclusion!
only at Cornell!
there are many more great versions out there.... but my files drop off significantly after '81. HOWEVER, DO NOT MISS! the righteous version played at the HIGHLY UNDER-RATED Rainbow Run of October 1981 -- the version from 10/6 is a tad cleaner, but i will take the 10/2
version for BRENT's contribution, he sounds just perfect.... the gruff shakey loner, instructing us to try a little harder, just poke around a bit more, just gotta poke around..... and you WILL find it....
AND FINALLY, jumping ahead almost a year to August 3, 1982, Starlight Theatre, Kansas City MO
for a just AMAZING.... MUST HEAR.... Killer version -- all the pieces are in places -- a nice vocal jam on the last chorus, great interplay between Brent and Jerry, hot leads from jer and a SWEET return to the chorus on the outro.... a version i CANNOT TOP.........
so...... i am gonna leave it happy.......
This post was modified by He Live's on 2008-07-28 05:48:46
SORRY FOR THE BUMP GANG.... but amos pointed out i linked the wrong Egypt show and seeing as this is the focus of the first part of the post AND it is an obvious gaff right in the first paragraph, i fixed it....
This post was modified by He Live's on 2008-07-29 15:38:17